Tuesday, November 13, 2012
A friend of mine, born in the south, has an interesting take on what we should have done at the end of the Civil War. He believes we should have simply followed the law. If we had followed the law we would have tried every Confederate leader starting with Jefferson Davis, all the governors of the southern states, senators, congressmen and all of the Confederate Generals starting with Robert E. Lee for treason against the United States of America. If convicted they would have been hung as proscribed by law. I asked him why? He said the South would have then understood we were serious about preserving the union and we would have sent a message that all the laws of the United States would be followed and there would be no tolerance of any actions contrary to those laws. He believes we were too tolerant of the South's treason against the United States, we have allowed the South to create romantic and heroic myths (like the war wasn't about slavery) about the Civil War and to harbor ongoing grudges against the United States. And for many years ignore the laws of the land.
The United States forgave the South too quickly for treason and the country has paid a heavy price ever since for our tolerance and forgiveness. He believes that Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee swinging from a gallows in front of the Capitol would have sent a powerful message to the people in the old Confederacy making the last 150 years of our history very, very different.
During our conversation I told him I thought that was pretty harsh. His reply? "What do you think the South would have done if it had won the war?"
In a sane country school children like me wouldn't have been singing "Dixie" in grade school music class in the 50's. History would have been taught very differently and we would have the same reaction to the Confederate 'Stars and Bars" as we do to the Swastika flag of Nazi Germany or the Hammer and Sickle of the USSR.
Since the election we have states threatening to secede once again. There are petitions to the Federal Government drawn up since the election asking for permission to leave the Union. All the usual suspects are involved including all the states of the Confederacy, Alaska, etc. Strangely enough my old home state of North Dakota is circulating a petition as well. I can't imagine that they have considered the fact that for every dollar they contribute to the US in taxes they get a $1.63 back!
Can they can get that deal anywhere else?